….continued from 3 Personal Trainer Mistakes You Make that Come with Success Part 1
2. We simply forget what it was like to be a beginner. We forget what it is like to struggle or feel uncoordinated OR we may have never felt what it was like to be the fat or the scrawny person at the gym filled with insecurities and feeling as though everyone is judging them.
The ability to make a new-comer comfortable may mean a lot more than your acquired knowledge and skill set obtained from professional literature or experience. Empathy and sympathy for those struggling with movement, pain, weight, or weakness is difficult to manufacture artificially. The more we learn and the more experience we gain the further we get from tapping into those emotions.
Some of this is due to the way the training and coaching industry is built. Often times as beginners with our Personal Training Certification freshly arrived in the mail from x, y, or z association we work with the general population. As we strive to learn more and become specialized in the fields of corrective exercise or strength and conditioning we begin to work closer with those populations, naturally. Improving our skills to train beginners and the general population may take a back seat as we perceive those skills as just that, general. So the professional ladder is developed as one so that as we become better trainers and coaches we move on to train better athletes or special populations. Last year in LA at the IHRSA conference I sat in on a panel discussion with the board members of the American Council on Exercise. It was basically a State of the Industry Address. One of the board members said something that struck me. She said that we are not getting enough people moving and that the industry really only excelled at “making the fit, fitter”. That is true. Much of the information that is studied and passed along from pro to pro is in the area of improving training technique (i.e. which form of training burns more fat or the best ways to trigger glute use while reducing TFL use, etc). Information that makes the fit, fitter.
We further ourselves from exploring ways to motivate beginners and push them down the behavioral change model. We overlook simple things like taking inventory of the beginners current perception and mentality towards exercise and health. We get caught up in coaching fancy exercises (or even effective yet boring exercises) instead of creating an enjoyable environment for the beginner.
Here is some advice. Beginners and novice exercises do not care what your certifications are or that you know every muscle in the body. They want to get a great workout, see resutls, and feel good afterwrds. Lastly they want to get what they PAY for.
Do you know what exercises are the easiest to coach? The ones that you had to learn as a beginner. You remember what hints, cues, and feelings it took to perform it perfectly. That is first hand experience that can’t be found in a book.
Don’t forget the basics and try to remember what it’s like when you entered this world of fitness.